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How To Make Gnocchi Step By Step Guide

Updated on August 28, 2012


For those of you who haven't experienced the wonderful Italian pasta called gnocchi, stay tuned. I'll tell you about some of my favorite gnocchi recipes and also demonstrate with a step by step guide how easy it is to make.

Gnocchi pasta is basically a thick, soft, dumpling type of pasta. You can make gnocchi from many different things. Semolina flour or unbleached flour makes a great gnocchi while potatoes, ricotta, spinach and even sweet potatoes make other kinds of fabulous gnocchi.

You can make gnocchi soups or you can create various and sundry sauces to go with your homemade or store-bought gnocchi such as a light pesto sauce, a traditional tomato sauce or an Alfredo sauce. 

Are you seeing where I'm going with this? Gnocchi is one of the most versatile pastas and although it is technically a pasta, it is far easier than other pasta doughs to make from scratch.

I decided to demonstrate with my recipe for sweet potato gnocchi to illustrate how colorful vegetable gnocchi can be. You can also buy vacuum-sealed gnocchi in the pasta aisle at the supermarket or find it premade in the refrigerator section.

Ricotta Gnocchi
Ricotta Gnocchi | Source


  • Gnocchi is meant to be eaten as an entrée as a substitute for pasta noodles
  • The word gnocchi is derived from the Italian word "nocchio" meaning a "knot of wood" (which kind of describes its shape)
  • Since Roman times, gnocchi has been enjoyed on the European continent
  • Innovations such as potato gnocchi, spinach gnocchi, ricotta gnocchi, sweet potato gnocchi, etc. are relatively new and have been tweaked by many countries to arrive at the creative gnocchi recipes today
  • There are many more possibilities when it comes to gnocchi - let creativity be your guide when creating your own gnocchi

Bake sweet potatoes at 35 degrees
Bake sweet potatoes at 35 degrees
Cool, skin and mash or put through ricer
Cool, skin and mash or put through ricer
Combine potato, garlic, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and egg
Combine potato, garlic, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and egg
Add in flour and stir to form a soft dough - add more flour if necessary if too sticky
Add in flour and stir to form a soft dough - add more flour if necessary if too sticky
Turn dough out on lightly floured surface
Turn dough out on lightly floured surface
Divide dough into 4 or so pieces and roll into long ropes
Divide dough into 4 or so pieces and roll into long ropes
Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces and place on lightly floured cookie sheet
Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces and place on lightly floured cookie sheet



  • 16 ounces sweet potatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, diced or dried
  • Salt to taste (up to 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash of cinnamon if desired
  • 1 egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 2 cups unbleached flour (more as necessary)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake sweet potatoes in their skins for about 30 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven, let cool, then peel and mash with a fork. Alternatively, you can run through a food mill or ricer.
  2. Combine potatoes, garlic, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and egg in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Add in flour. You should have a soft dough (add more flour if the dough is too sticky).
  3. Turn out the gnocchi dough on a floured surface and roll parts of the dough out one piece at a time into long, thin ropes. Cut the gnocchi into 1 inch sections. (You can use a gnocchi tool or a gnocchi board to add "character" and creases to the gnocchi at this point as well).
  4. Set the gnocchi individually on a lightly floured jelly roll pan for cooking as you work. You can also freeze them at this point as well. Just freeze for an hour or so, remove from the trays and pop them into freezer bags for a great quick and easy meal another time.


  • When cooking your homemade gnocchi, bring a large pot of water with a dash of salt to a simmering boil.
  • Drop the pieces into the boiling water and allow them to cook until they float to the surface.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon. Keep warm on a serving plate.
  • Sweet potato gnocchi is great with butter or a light cream sauce.

TIP: Substitute butternut squash for the sweet potato or even use yams.

***This recipe was based on a recipe I found on though I tweaked it to my preferences.

Be sure and check out the video as well below which gives you a visual idea of how you put this quick and easy recipe together.

You Tube Video How To Make Gnocchi by Audrey Kirchner


To illustrate further the beauty of using gnocchi, here's another of my favorite gnocchi recipes. In this case, you can either use homemade gnocchi of any kind (like spinach or sweet potato, ricotta or potato) or buy store-bought gnocchi. Either way, this is a fabulously easy and delicious Italian dish.

Pesto with Shrimp and Asparagus Gnocchi



  • 16 ounce package of vacuum packed gnocchi
  • 4 cups of sliced asparagus (about 1/2-1 inch pieces)
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp or prawns coarsely chopped (substitute small shrimp)
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of roasted pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (Reggiano cheese or other similar)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons chopped or minced garlic (or dried garlic)
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Cooking spray - optional


  1. Bring water in large pot to boil. Add gnocchi and cook according to directions on package. If using fresh, homemade gnocchi, place in boiling water and boil until pieces float to the top, remove with slotted spoon and set aside to keep warm. When ready to mix ingredients, place in a large bowl.
  1. Add asparagus and shrimp to large skillet sprayed with cooking spray, cook 5 minutes or so until shrimp are cooked through. Drain. Or add asparagus and shrimp to boiling water used for cooking gnocchi and cook for about 5 minutes. Drain.
  2. Add the shrimp and asparagus to gnocchi in large bowl.
  3. Combine basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, garlic and water in a food processor and process until smooth. Drizzle olive oil into the food chute with the processor running and process until well blended.
  4. Toss basil mixture with the gnocchi and shrimp. Sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan cheese and serve.

This recipe serves 4 and is an adaptation from a recipe on A fabulous substitution for store-bought gnocchi here is spinach gnocchi or the sweet potato gnocchi though any gnocchi will do.

Serve this fantastic Italian dinner with a green salad, a crusty loaf of Italian bread and a crisp white wine.

How To Make Ricotta Gnocchi


As you can see, there are many innovative recipes out there for gnocchi. Some great places to start looking for gnocchi recipes are the Internet and also on YouTube.

Another great source for gnocchi recipes is just about any Italian cookbook of merit. You can find these in abundance on or even new or slightly handled on eBay. Don't forget your local library either for loads of Italian recipes which will include wonderful ideas for making homemade gnocchi and sauces.

As pastas go, I enjoy making gnocchi because it is less labor intensive than making regular pasta noodles. It can also be a great family event or an interesting dinner party activity. Everyone can participate in creating the gnocchi and certainly in the cooking and sauce preparation.

If you have more great gnocchi recipes in your culinary toolbox, please share them with us here. I'm always looking for new gnocchi recipes!

How to Make Spinach Gnocchi


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